Waiting on Wednesday – 14
“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
I’m in a historical fiction kind of mood this week it seems, even though my reading doesn’t really show that. However, two of the books I am most looking forward to this year fit perfectly the category. While I think more readers have been waiting for Z, I do have a special place in my heart for Edward Rutherfurd’s Paris. Rutherfurd writes the most amazing novels about cities and nations, making them vivid characters we get to know through history. I have been wishing, dreaming, hoping he would tackle Paris for years; if there is one book I have been waiting for in 2013, it’s the one.
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Paris : The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd
(April 16th, 2013)
The noble family de Cygne have served king and country through the ages, while their ancient enemies the Le Sourds embody the ideals of the French Revolution and the Paris Commune. The two Gascon brothers come from the dangerous slums behind Montmartre, but while Thomas goes to work building the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, Luc makes a living in the underworld of Pigalle, near the Moulin Rouge. The Blanchards, ruined in the reign of Louis XV, rise again in the age of Napoleon and help establish Paris as the center of art, literature and style that it is today. The American Hadleys, the father a painter, the son a friend of Hemingway, find romance in Paris, while the Jewish Jacob family of art dealers, expelled in the Middle Ages, try to survive in the Second War.
The story of the city is rich indeed: From the days of Notre Dame and the mighty Knights Templar to the expulsion of the Jews; from the age of heroic Joan of Arc, to cunning Cardinal Richelieu and the bloody conflict between Catholics and Huguenots; from the glittering court of Versailles to the Terror of the French Revolution; from the heyday of the Impressionists to the shame of the Dreyfus Affair, and the tragic mutiny of the First World War; from the 1920s when the writers of the Lost Generation could be found drinking at Les Deux Magots, to the Nazi occupation, and the heroism of the French Resistance.
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Z : A novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
(March 26th, 2013)
When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.
What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.
Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who isZelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it.
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What are you waiting on this week?